decision determines destiny

the power in time: Ephesians 5:16-17

I just listened to an excellent teaching on “the power in time” by my favorite Bible teacher, considered one of the premium Bible teachers today. The subject is based on Ephesians 5:15-17, about how to walk as wise, redeeming the time. He teaches that time is a resource that impacts eternity. We can take from the eternal and sow into this temporal life, and from the temporal and sow into eternity. Some go through time, never redeeming one minute. How to redeem time? 1. Have the right attitude. Hebrews 11:1 (faith). 2. Do not look at the temporal. 2 Corinthians 4:18. We have spiritual eyeballs to choose to see through God’s words, our default, and expect God’s promises to be fully realized. 3. Perseverance. Galatians 6:9. Do not grow weary doing good, for in due season (time) we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

The above encouragement is timely as I am pondering on making a choice in what to major in third year. I just watched the presentation of the seven faculties to choose from. It is hard to make a decision at this moment. I have narrowed down the options to three. But it appears that all three are relevant to my future direction: ministry, business, and media school.

My mentor advises me to be patient and continue to finish my present year’s course and the Holy Spirit will guide me on the right choice. Has my fasting worked in terms of sharpening my spiritual hearing ability? I seem out of practice after having been so engrossed in busyness in chores, what with sudden landing of a young ward to serve for a season (time)… Alas. But I am determined to redeem time and sow into eternity come what may.

My generic guide: Bible verses from Luke 4:18

Luke 4:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me [a]to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are [b]oppressed;

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 4:18 NU omits to heal the brokenhearted
  2. Luke 4:18 downtrodden

Prosperity God’s way: the rich and the poor

Wise sayings about the rich and the poor to meditate today.

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city;

The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

The way of the Lord is strength for the upright,

But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,

And He adds no sorrow with it.

The labor of the righteous leads to life,

The wages of the wicked to sin.

He who has a slack hand becomes poor,

But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

He who gathers in summer is a wise son;

He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.

The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish,

But He casts away the desire of the wicked.

The wise in heart will receive commands,

But a prating fool will fall.

He who walks with integrity walks securely,

But he who perverts his ways will become known.

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing,

But righteousness delivers from death.

The fear of the wicked will come upon him,

And the desire of the righteous will be granted.

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,

But the perverse tongue will be cut out.

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,

But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.

The righteous will never be removed,

But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.

When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,

But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

(Based on Proverbs 10)

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Hindrances vs Right Attitudes to walk in Biblical Prosperity

Biblical Prosperity

Deuteronomy 8:18 (NKJV)

18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may [a]establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 8:18 confirm

Matthew 6:21  (NKJV)

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Psalm 35:27  (NKJV)

27 Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”

2 Corinthians 9:7-9 (RSV)

Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written,

“He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness[a] endures for ever.”

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 9:9 Or benevolence

Paul’s testimony: how he uses the mind of Christ

2 Corinthians 6:4

Today we learn how effectively Paul use both his mind and spirit: aligned with the mind of Christ and the Spirit of Christ.

His challenge list reads like a horror movie, far worse than any nightmare: five times whipped with 39 stripes each, three times beaten by rod, once stoned, three times shipwrecked, one night and one day in the deep, in journeys often, in perils of waters, robbers, own countrymen, gentiles, city, wilderness, sea, false brethren, weariness, toil, sleeplessness often, hunger, thirst, fasting often, cold, nakedness, deep concern for all churches, threat of imminent arrest (his life) from city authority. He was in constant physical and mind challenges: in much patience, tribulations, needs, distresses, stripes, imprisonments, tumults, and labors. (2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 6:4-5)

Imagine a human always being hounded, on the look-out, on the run, slandered, taunted, intimidated, verbally and physically abused, violently assaulted, falsely accused, brutally arrested, beaten, condemned as guilty without evidence, imprisoned without a just trial, and always overhung with the death sentence.

But what did Paul say about his conditions? How did he deal with such an overload of injustice and schemes of torments after his life? His letters showed how he looked at things both sides. He lived in both the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man, the spiritual and the physical realms, the temporary and the eternal, the external and the internal, the seen and the unseen. To Paul, both were real. He really experienced them, the natural and the supernatural. By knowing the two parallel realities Paul was able to handle the challenges confidently and overcome them successfully. Because his focus and priority are always on the side of the real victor, Christ.

He explained this plainly in his letters (2 Corinthians 6:6-10). There are two sides in everything: the view of the enemy and the view of a Spirit-filled Christian (reflecting God’s view). The evil and the good. The good will always overpower the evil one. Paul effectively and fearlessly exercised his spiritual power and authority over his unseen foe who worked through other human and natural elements. I append below self-explanatory Bible verses on this awesome revelation!

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (NKJV)

But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much [a]patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by [b]sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Corinthians 6:4 endurance
  2. 2 Corinthians 6:6 Lit. unhypocritical

Acts 26:24-26 The Passion Translation (TPT)

24 Festus interrupted Paul’s defense,[a] blurting out, “You’re out of your mind! All this great learning of yours is driving you crazy.”[b]

25 Paul replied, “No, Your Excellency Festus, I am not crazy. I speak the words of truth and reason.[c] 26 King Agrippa, I know I can speak frankly and freely with you, for you understand these matters well, and none of these things have escaped your notice. After all, it’s not like it was a secret!

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 26:24 The Aramaic can be translated “As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul, Festus interrupted.”
  2. Acts 26:24 Or “So much Scripture has made you senseless!”
  3. Acts 26:25 Or “words of sober truth.”

Paul’s fearlessness: right priority right time right target

2 Corinthians 2:14

Today I am back to 2 Corinthians on why Paul was fearless against all odds. Chapter 2 showed a different Paul from the evangelistic goal-focused apostle Paul we may imagine he was. I summarize below my deeper understanding after reading this part of his letter to the Corinth Christians.

Chapter 2: Pauls’ Ministry of the body of Christ -Paul teaches the right priority in ministry, motive and manner in handling the body of Christ.

  1. He clarified that his ministry was not to bring sorrow to himself and/or the body of Christ but joy: through forgiving, comforting, reaffirming God’s love.
  2. He showed his concern for the body of Christ which took precedence over his personal ministry. For example, he wanted to follow through their progress in Christ. So he chose to forego an opportunity to preach gospel at Troas and instead returned to Macedonia to wait for his co-worker Titus whom he expected to bring the latest news about the Corinthian body of Christ.
  3. Paul followed the Holy Spirit and the peace in his heart. When he did not find rest in his heart he decided not to start an evangelical work in a new place alone despite the valuable opportunity offered. He also followed the rule that they worked in a team of two or more (he, Titus and others).
  4. Whilst in the midst of uncertainty with his flocks at Corinth: their spiritual condition and his (and his team’s) relationship with them, he remained calm and confident of the positive outcome and described the work of the evangelists always in triumph in Christ because it is God who initiates the work and causes the victory to manifest.
  5. He has personally experienced the God-initiated work which always gives life and triumph over death and doom.
  6. Paul was confident with the Corinth Christians because he was fearless to preach the word of God with sincerity and authority in Christ. He wanted them well. He had God’s heart for them.

a new direction for investment: the Spirit way

Someone close forwarded to me a monetary write-up. I did not finish reading it and immediately told her not to share it to anyone anymore. The write-up mentioned an announcement by an international organization about a monetary decision and related speculations.

I am always confronted with questions like this. What shall we do about our rather humble investments which may be affected by policy changes in the world? Like what I told my faraway friend I could only tell her my views and predictions (prophecies) when we meet face to face as it is too complex to talk about in a chat. I would have to explain to her many multifaceted power factors and variables, social, political, economic, financial and many more. I shall need to explain to her the issues of two parallel kingdoms and citizens of the Kingdom of God are not to panic like the residents of another kingdom because we walk by the Spirit and not bound by the limitations of the external world.

So coming back to a small investor what shall we do? I have only one fall-safe advice. Do not follow the pack. Do not believe in the media (including so-called analysts). Do not make any hasty decision based on hearsay. Do not follow the world and its way.

Do follow the Holy Spirit.

I know someone will cry by now. How to follow the Holy Spirit if you have never practiced hearing Him and following His advice? Money is where the heart is. How to trust the Holy Spirit if you have never learned to trust and obey Him in small money matters like offerings and givings? Jesus gave a good way to test if you have listened and acted correctly. He said only the good trees produce good fruit. He also specifically said that hearing Him and acting on it would assure that your house is built on solid rock.

How to listen to the Holy Spirit? For a start, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and pray in tongue. Read God’s word (the Bible). Meditate on His words. Talk to God and listen to His Spirit talking to your spirit. No, it is not an intuition or magic. It is a relationship with someone really close built up over time.

Christians (born again by the Holy Spirit) have the ability to hear God. The Spirit in you is not a spirit of fear. It is a spirit of power, love, and sound mind. Fear is the major tool to make you lose peace and rest in God. You will forget God’s love for you which is a constant factor. God does not change His love. God’s Love is a supernatural power. Every Christian has this power.

My advice is always fall back on God’s love, peace and the faith that He has placed in your heart. Always maintain your close relationship with Him like you do with your best loved one. He has never failed me.

Be encouraged and built up by these Bible verses:

Romans 5:5 New King James Version (NKJV)

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

2 Timothy 1:7, 13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Footnotes:

  1. 2 Timothy 3:16 training, discipline

3 John 2 New King James Version (NKJV)

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.


Just loving aloud: passionately unveiled

cross not loss
Magnify the cross, not your loss!

So I kneel humbly in awe before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah, 15 the perfect Father of every father and child[a] in heaven and on the earth. 16 And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power.

17 Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.

18–19 Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude[b] of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!

20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.

21 Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ—and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen!

Footnotes:
Ephesians 3:15 Translated from the Aramaic. It could also be translated “the perfect Father of every people group.” The Greek word for “father” and the word for “family” are quite similar, which indicates that every family finds its source in the Father.
Ephesians 3:18 Or “excellence.”

(Ephesians 3:14-21 The Passion Translation (TPT) Paul Prays for Love to Overflow)

Just thinking aloud 4

thinking aloud4I have not been thinking aloud for sometime. What have I been doing? Well I have been studying and sitting for exam. I am serious. The last time I studied for exam was when I did a postgraduate degree for a second career. The current three years’ course is for my “third career”. Yes, my family members are laughing out loud when they read this. At my age and my station? Unbelievable! Well, why am I taking up such a seemingly directionless challenge? I could have easily gone on a world cruise and enjoy watching, listening and recording a great variety of perspectives of many sights, sounds and tastes.

For the benefit of my closed ones and other passers by, here is a random list of my study goals in no order of importance. As some may observe the goals are personal.
1. to be a role model for the younger generation who have aversion to study in my extended family. (I include this goal because several very young members are still students)
2. to compel me to leave the soft couch and sit on a chair with hard back.
3. to change my habit from random information skimming to a focused in-depth study.
4. to have a clear sense of direction.
5. to have a specific higher goal.
6. to practice self-discipline.
7. to exercise my memory and brain functions.
8. to practice long-suffering and perseverance.
9. to learn focus and deter distraction.
10. to equip for a third career. (I include this goal as a commercial motivation for myself and the younger generation too!)

Have I achieved or progressed in any of the above goals? To some degree, yes. I did not include my spiritual and goals of higher values in the above list. They are personal too. Have I achieved or progressed in them? Yes, very much. Would I recommend to my peers such a course? Yes, definitely. Far, far better than going on a world cruise. From a spiritual watchman’s perspective, cruising in the sky has a wider and more panoramic view than taking a ride in a boat.

Steve asks, “How can we operate from a position of love…”

Proverbs 28-4Steve asks, “How can we operate from a position of love as it relates to the violence of liberal assaults without lowering to their level?” watch this answer!
https://www.facebook.com/YourCharis/videos/1775521025910220/

Don’t miss the Truth and Liberty Live cast at 6:00pm MDT.

TruthandLiberty.net for more details!

Proverbs 28:4 Those who turn their backs on God’s teaching applaud the wicked, while those who observe His instruction oppose them at every turn.

Isaiah 1:26 New Living Translation (NLT)
26 Then I will give you good judges again
and wise counselors like you used to have.
Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice
and the Faithful City.”

just thinking aloud 3

who you are in ChristEducation gives us facts and knowledge. But wisdom gives us the abilities to use knowledge for good productive purposes -doing the right thing, with the right people/object, at the right time and place, producing the right outcome. A successful businessman described how he was saved from a financial disaster through the operation of wisdom instead of knowledge.

Here is his experience with the supernatural wisdom.
He talked about a business deal that he was looking about buying this entire apartment complex. He said the financial numbers looked great. Everything looked really good. He said I kept wanting to do it and the more I prayed about it, the Holy Spirit said, “No!” And he said I know when the Holy Spirit says no the Holy Spirit says no. “We had signed a letter of intent but we had not signed a contract on the property to buy it. And so I went to see the vendor.” He said, I prayed some more in the Holy Spirit because it looked really good in the natural. And the Spirit of God on the inside of me said no. And so I said, “We are not going to do this.” The vendor just went ballistic, crazy. But three months later or something the city condemned the building and they had to move all the people out of it and for months they did not get their money. It would have been a complete financial disaster. The Holy Spirit knows things that we do not know and if we listen to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will keep us out of trouble.

Where do we find wisdom? We find wisdom in Christ. Christ lives on the inside of you, and you can learn to draw from your spirit on the inside.

Colossians 2:3 (NKJV) in Whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV) For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT) God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (TPT) For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.

Who you are affects what you do. So, if you see yourself as righteous, having been made by God “the righteousness of God in Christ”, there are certain places you will not want to go and certain things you will not want to do because that is not who you are.

Just thinking aloud 2

thoughts2The way we think influences the contents we speak of. Some people may prefer their life colors remain in varying shades of grey. But there are times in lives we stand at the watershed between truth and untruth and need to make a clearly demarcated decision.

A current news event has stirred up my memory of a story I read sometime ago about a young woman uncovering her unmarried aunt’s reason for remaining single. She still could not forget her first love from junior high school. She did not marry him because she was ambitious and felt that he could not possibly give her the financial freedom she yearned for. They separated and lost contact for decades. She became a famous commercial artist in her own right. The young niece did some sleuthing and finally tracked down the man in question. He turned out to be a very successful but reclusive industrialist manufacturing highly sought after exquisite glassware. He had married, divorced and remained single. He soon detected this young girl stalking him and confronted her. Here is the anti-climax: when she told him she was trying to reconcile him with her aunt, he categorically denied having ever known her aunt!

What really happened? The girl was disappointed and puzzled. The aunt told her the name of her first love and this man bore that name. But this man had no idea who the aunt was and denied ever loving any woman of that description. The girl finally found and showed him the faded photo of her aunt and her young lover from high school. It dawned on the industrialist that the young man was his classmate and good friend then. Apparently the aunt remembered a wrong name. The girl was shocked. All these years the aunt was stalking/thinking of the wrong man when she kept abreast of news about his development and achievements in life.

But what happened to the other man? The undistinguished real lover? The girl eventually found him, an ordinary man at his death bed in a hospice. He had married, propagated, widowed, retired and lived with his grown-up son and family. He thought she was her aunt because of the resemblance. In the story she let this poor man hold her hand until he breathed his last.

I know my memory cannot be classified as totally objective, factual, accurately organized and stored like untempered computer data. I used to think otherwise. But one day my younger sister unknowingly challenged the accuracy of my facts. I overheard her recalling a historical family incident to our younger relatives. I remember everything just as she narrated except for one crucial fact. In my memory I was the hero who did that act of charity. In her narration she became that charitable person! How can that be? I was stunned. I stayed silent. Either one of us has to be wrong. Who is it? She is an honest person. I know that as a fact. So am I. But one of us remembers an untruth.

What affects my memory? How do I remember things? I use ways to memorize different details, often by associations which are not entirely reliable. Despite being a very careful reader of maps, when I am driving in a less familiar terrain (and without GPS), suddenly realizing that some familiar landmarks have changed without my previous noticing, I would find myself stopping my car in the middle of the road, pulling aside to figure out where I am on the map, because I cannot rely on my internalized auto-pilot system anymore.

I personally find that faces, names and places are the most difficult items to synchronize when recalling. Often I have to put memory pieces like jigsaw puzzles (real and imagined?) together to form a coherent (in my thinking) narrative picture. Association can be misleading and deceptive too like the story above of the two young men and their names being mixed up in the memory of a young girl.

Being fond of writing and reading words, I realize that my thinking formulates pictures the way I see them in my mind which is in turn influenced by many variable factors, some real, some unintentionally and often unconsciously creatively imagined. After awhile, I even speak as if they are real. I am thankful that I have a family and loved ones with enough common sense and who are not afraid to point out where I err in this memory-recalling processing task.

What matters is how God sees us. Knowing how He sees me and aligning with His view will be the best guide for every aspect of life. What about memory? Leave it aside unless it fits the following happy thoughts.

So keep your (my) thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your (my) thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. (Philippians 4:8)

Just thinking aloud

thought1My thinking has a lot to do with where I go in life. God is a lot more concerned with where I am going than where I came from. God is in the spiritual realm. He has the best thoughts for me. If I do not begin to think there, I cannot go there in the natural. But if I begin to think in a different realm, that is, the spiritual, my thoughts will help me go there and bring back to the natural every spiritual blessing and prove the perfect will of God in my natural life.